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. >> rose: welcome to the program. tonight, a conversation with carmelo anthony about basketball and about life. >> i have to say wt what can i do to better team and make the guys around me that much better. when i say better not just passing the ball and saying hey, shoot the ball and make the shot but from being a leader and having those qualities from in the locker room, on the bus, around the team, at events, just them seeing me in a different light. >> rose: we conclude this evening with the pulitzer prize winning biographer of dr. martin luther king, taylor branch is here to talk about his new book
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"the king years:istic moments in the civil rights movement." he was a prophet with a political ear and a good sense of timing. he spoke about religion and race everyday, church and state and yet remarkably was never attacked for mixing church and states which a common thing and the reason is because he was so gifted about not trying to subdue one or the other. he would say equal soul or equal votes, take your pick, one day the south will know that when these disinherented children of god sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for the best american drm and the most sacred values in our judeo-christian heritage. he had a remarkably stable balance appeal. >> rose: carmelo anthony and taylor branch when we continue.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: carmelo anthony is here. he is one of the best basketball players in the world. he is a six-time n.b.a. all-star
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and two-time olympic gold medal winner. this saturday his college jersey was retired in syracuse where he led his team to an n.c.a.a. championship in 2003. here's some footage from the ceremony.
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>> carmelo anthony not only won us a national championship, he helped us build our program to a completely other level by helping us build the carmelo anthony center. and this is from a guy who was here one year and he's brought so much to syracuse basketball beyondhe nation championship that he has really left a legacy for syracuse basketball. (cheers and applause) >> today a syracuse legend to have his jersey retired, please join us, carmelo anthony. (cheers and applause)
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>> rose: in 2003, carmelo was drafted by the denver nuggets in 2011 he was traded to the place where he was born, new york city. right now the new york nicks are in second place in the eastern conference and caramel slow averaging 28 points per game. i am pleased to have him here at this table for the first time. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: great to have you. >> thank you. >> rose: syracuse. tell me about that day. what did it mean for you? >> on that day, i had to take myself back to when i first decided that i wanted to go to syracuse and from that point on it was just so many memories that was rolling and rolling and rolling as i'm sitting here for when i got off the plane in the car around to the carrier dome sitting in my seat watching the game. up until that moment when they unveiled the jersey it was just so many memories of when i was at syracuse, when i was on campus in class, in my apartment
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just being a student. just being a teenager. >> rose: we know what you did for syracuse. you went all the way to the national championships, the n.c.a.a. national championship. what did syracuse dorr do for you? >> it made me -- helped me -- it led me to become a man from the standpoint of -- >> rose: away from home. >> away from home. being on your own. not so many -- no bills. >> rose: right, right. >> but you have to feed yourself. is you have to wake yourself up in the morning. you have to go to class. you have to push yourself even days you don't want to go to class you feel like you don't want to you have to push yourself. and even when you're home, it's the college life. >> rose: it's hard to resist not turning pro if you have the right stuff. >> you can't resist that. >> rose: because of your parents and in your case your mother who had done so much for you.
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>> absolutely. when i told her that i was ready to go to the n.b.a. she almost had a flip. (laughs) she almost flipped out. >> rose: she was happy >> she had mixed emotions because my mother always wanted me to go to college. if you don't go to school, don't do your work, no basketball, no football, no sports at all so for me to have to sit down so for me to have that conversation it was hard to do that. >> rose: you grew up in red hook for the first eight years of your life. what was red hook life? >> it was tough. >> rose: (laughs) no picnic, was it? >> it was red hook, brooklyn, new york, back in the '08 eyes, early 's. just for me to be able to grow up there and have that experience even as a little kid i saw things i wasn't supposed to see as a youngster and helped me out the this date. >> rose: you knowing you didn't want to go there? >> knowing the route that i
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didn't want to take. even as a kid even six, seven, eight years old but you didn't have no issues because everybody else had the same problems that she was having so we didn't know no better so we was just living the life. >> rose: did you see basketball or sports as an exit? from the neighborhood? >> no, not at all. not at all. >> rose: just played because you liked it. >> i played it because i liked it. everybody in my neighborhood played it. we had a court outside the projects, it was fun. >> rose: as you know today there are pro scouts that are looking at people who are ten years old and they're seeing the future stars. >> not in my case. (laughs) >> rose: when did they see in the you? >> they started looking at me -- i would say really from a professional standpoint probably like my senior year in high school. >> rose: really. that's when you begin to come into your own and show you could play? >> that's when i found love with the game. before that it was just playing it to be playing it, playing this basketball tournament,
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playing this tournament. just something to do to get out the neighborhood but i didn't love the game. >> rose: then you moved to baltimore? >> then i moved to baltimore. i thought grass was greener. >> rose: (laughs) how was the change from red hook to a very different kind of city? >> it was different. where i was born, wre i grew up at, red hook, i had my friends already. so to take me out of that situation and put me into a totally new but similar situation it was like a brand new -- it was brand new for me. no friends go to school, got make friends in tough neighborhoods. >> rose: but sports help you make friends don't say in. >> we had a rec center that was kind of keeping me out of a lot of things after school all the kids in the neighborhood go to the rec center, play just after school programs. that's whe u me your friends and t yur name at. >> rose: where did you get the shot then? the idea that you are a shooter.
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>> i can always put the ball in the hole. >> rose: that's what they say about you today. what do you think about carmelo? he can put the ball in the hole. >> even when i was eight, nine, ten years old, i could always put the ball in the hole. >> rose: did you play other sports? >> my first one was baseball. >> rose: would you have rather been in the mor leagues rather an in the eny? >>ight n? rose: no, not now, then. f somebody could have said choose baseball, buck an all-star or choose basketball you can be an all-star -- >> back then i probably would have chose baseball because that was my first sport that i loved. basketball was just somethat that i played. >> rose: could you have been as good in baseball? >> if i had kept with it. >> rose: how about football? >> i played football but i play sports seasonal so whatever season it was -- >> rose: you played football in the fall, basketball in the
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winter and baseball in the summer. so syracuse, you get a scholarship, do you go because of jim? >> he was a big reason. i grew up here in new york and on the east coast i was a big east fan. believe it or not, st. johns was the school to go to and especially here in new york, some school in the big east. >> rose: you know where i went to school? you don't? duke. >> you didn't give me a chance. (laughs) >> rose: fair enough. i didn't want to embarrass you. mike kryzewi. >> yeah. rose:e coachedou. >> rose: yes. >> what kind of coach is he? >> rose: oh, man he's -- first and foremost he's a -- he was more of a motivational guy to me more than a coach. he helped me get through a lot just from a mental standpoint, from a confidence standpoint. he raised that.
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he first came to me. >> rose: what d he say? >> he said he wanted me to be a part of the team. was readto b in? i said i'm ready. even from -- >> rose: did he say that because he had questions as to whether you were -- maybe something somebody told him system? >> when he took on the job we was just coming up with the 2004 olympics so we had all of that experience which everybody knows was a bad experience so he took over in '06 for the world championships. he sat down with everybody, sat down with me and said "are you ready? " i said i'm ready, coach, i'm locked in, i'm dedicated, committed for th next two years th team u.s.a. with you and whatever you need prefrom me i'm ready to do it. >> rose: here's what he said about you. roll tape. >> holy mackerel, carmelo, you're doing an interview with charlie rose. man, he's come a long way since learning how to play contesting defense for the u.s. team.
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but charlie, one of the great things, the things that makes carmelo such a fantastic basketball player is he's a war your, you know? he's as good a competitor as i coached in the seven years i've coached the u.s. national team. i love my relationship with him. he's multiing dimensional. he can play the three, four, or five for us. and he's a problem for anybody at all on these positions offensively. the cool thing and the great thing is he's strong enough, determined enough and smart enough to defend all three of those positions. the truly one of the great players in our game today. >> that's big coming from him. (laughs) >> rose: didn't get much bigger than that, does it? this is auy whs won t admiration of you and kobe and lebron and the great players of the game because he treated you with respect and at the same time told you what was expected of you.
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>> absolutely. a lot of people said can a college coach work with the pros? mojs ourselves we came and we said we're going to make it work. so we had to put our egos and pride in check first then go to him and say, coach, we're going to allow you to coach us, do what you do, coach us the way you want to coach us, we respect one anoer and -- >> rose: and what do the victories mean for you and the gold medal? >> the first gold medal it was a special moment for our team. >> rose: playing for america? >> playing for america because we felt that sense of urge, that urgency. we felt that sense of pride that the other countries was feeling. especially coming up being as a country u.s.a. basketball so low and the world that has caught up with it. i believe that this is our game, you know no? so we wanted tocomeack and redeem ourselves and we did that. so that made -- >> rose: and you did it by doing
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it as a team. >> rose: >> and nobody expected the guys that was on that team to come together as one and do it. >> rose: it doesn't happen if you go 10-12 from the floor. >> not at all. that makes it better. >> rose: the nick this is year. they hear what? how many -- after the all-star break seasons moving towards the playoffs. tell me about you you think the nicks are. >> i think we -- at the beginning of of theeason we started off grt, we started off 10-0, something like that. >> surprising lots of people? >> rose: surprising lots of people. we knew as a team what kind of guys we have on the team. >> you have the right you have? >> we had the right pieces of the puzzle. then we had a little downfall the last couple weeks which i don't want to say is expected but it is expected in the long season. you're going to have problems that you've got to over come. but the most important thing about our team that i love,
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have veteran gs on our team that know how to handle situations that come about. and right now even though we want the day, we have lost some games like we felt like we should have won. we communicate and when you have older veteran guys that have been through the fire that's the key. communication is definitely the key. >> rose: the oldest team in the n.b.a. you'd take jason kidd, wouldn't you? >> i'd take it. i'd compare it to pilots. if you want to go fly with a -- with with a ten year vet or a two year vet. which one do you want? >> rose: is ate different team in the sense that this is an offense -- it's different the offense without tone snifrnlts without a doubt. >> rose: that's better for you. >> it's better for me and everybody on the team. i think over the summer we had
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time to reflect back. as players, as coaches, coach came in and said his main thing is to hold guys accountable. it made everybody wake up and say o.k., i got to the do my job. it started in training camp. before training camp when i came in from the olympics and we had guys in the jim working out two or three weeks so you saw the commitment we was willing to make as a team. >> rose: what commitment had you decided you had to make? >> for me i had to sit back and reflect on the last year and a half and just say i came hre a year and half ago towards the end of the season i had to jump in into the fish. the excitement was there. >> rose: and you were coming home. >> i was homing home so that made it that much more fun and just going with the flow. last year we had the lockout
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season, injuries and things like that kind of hurt us. but then this summer we had to sit back and -- for me i had to reinvent myself mentally and just say okay that season is over. >> rose: reinvent yourself mentally. >> mentally. rose: and howyoupproh the game and the team? and your role? >> my role. my focus. because the i knew i was going to come back this season in top-notch shape. that was one of my goals to come back in the best shape that i could possibly come back in. mentally i had to be prepared for that. and i wanted my teammates to see that. i wanted my teammates to see that i was prepared to take on the challenge and i wanted them to ride with . >> rose: wt watheonflict with them? >> believe it or not it was never a conflict. >> rose: what was it -- how you played the game and how you -- his teams in the past have played the game.
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>> well, i think tony he's the guy -- he had his system for years, sometimes it works, sometimes it don't. >> rose: right talent. >> the right players to work in that system. i think what made it so tough for us was that we were searching for a point guard. and then whole jeremy lin thing came about and even when jeremy lin was here and playe i didn't play. so nobody really knew how it would work and then as i was out amari came back. so just putting the pieces of the puzzle together so we never know what could happen with that team, what could happen with that system. i think it was bad timing for everybody. >> rose: do you think it was good for both the rockets and the nicks that jeremy lin went to houston? >> without a doubt. without a doubt. >> rose: benefited both teams? >> benefited both teams. >> rose: of course it will benefit houston causeof jame harden and -- >> i look at it from -- this is
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the business that we're in. i look at it from the a business standpoint. especially with the -- the collective bargaining agreement. we decided -- injure may lin said the contract -- >> rose: in other words if the nicks had matched his contract. >> we would have been over the tax threshold and paying this much. maybe amari would have been here next year so everybody was up at the same time if you're catching my drift. so it worked out forboth teams. >> rose: what was your relationship with him, jere sni >> we had a great relationship -- >> rose: that was overblown with some conflict between the two of you? >> i never had any conflict with anybody on my team. jeremy lin -- it was fun. it used to be funny because we would sit back in the locker room and watch people talk about us. >> rose: so it worked out for him as you said? worked out for you. >> absolutely.
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>> rose: how is the team different? define this team for me with kenyan martin coming and settling into what his role would be. >> from what i see with this team it's one of the better teams. >> rose: you're number to in the east, that's not bad. >> despite dropping some games we're still at the top of our division. we're the number two seed in the eastern conference trying to fight to get the best record in the eastern conference. but our team right now the way we put this thing it's almost destined for us to be successful d -- >> ro: llme what you mean by that. >> because we have -- so we have everything -- if you look at the ultimate team, teams that have won, they have the veteranship, guys who could shoot, guys who could defend, guys that know their role and guys who've can score the basketball and guys who can take you over the top when the moment is coming. i look at this team as just a
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matter of putting those pieces together and -- >> rose: by pieces i think one of the biggest pieces is chandler. >> without a doubt. rose:ivinsomethinhere. >> without a doubt. >> rose: they had a shooter and you, lear, then you had add him, a leader and a rebounder and a very strong defensive -- >> absolutely. our goal is to just go into the stretch run healthy. especially the older guys that we have. we just go into the stretch healthy. >> rose: what does amari add and what's his role? >> i think with him settling in and the limitations of his manager, his coming off the bench, he don't feel as is much pressure anymo. >> rose: and that makes him better? >> it makes him that much better. when you feel that you have the weight of the world off your shoulders and you can do what you do best and not worry about anything that's -- you're successful. >> rose: and what about kenyan?
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>> toughness. that's something he brings, toughness. >> rose: so he'll be a huge advantage on the boards? >> on the boards, on the defensive end, in the locker room >> you twore close? >>e're close. >> rose: but somebody come to you and says whether it's dolan or somebody comes to you and says "what about kenyan, should we go after him" you would say in. >> why not if he's available. the conversation never was "we need to talk to you. should we get kenyan?" >> rose: i thought they talked to you about every decision they snead >> for me i've learned in this this league to let the front office do their job. >> rose: there was thispeople look at th sean a they say it's a new mellow. is there a new mellow? >> i don't want to say it's a new melo. it goes back to me saying i had
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to reinvent myself mentally and i had to say okay, i have to embrace pefrg, embrace the challenge, embrace -- >> rose: what do you have to embrace? >> the pressure of being in new york city, the greatest any the world. a lot comes with it. so if you're not ready for that -- >> rose: scrutiny. >> scrutiny. >> rose: tabloids. >> tabloids, you name it. >> rose: not just you but your family. >> you can go down the whole list. if you're not ready for that eventually then it affects you. >> rose: how did you get ready mentally? >> i had to put that year and a half that i've been here and just wipe it off the table and say i want to start off with a clean plate. everything. i want to start off with a clean plate. off the court, on the cord. i'm reinventing myself. >> rose: on the cord you're playing better defense? >> yes. >> rose: going after more balls, you've never done that before. >> yes.
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>> rose: you are thinking not just shoot but pass. >> absolutely. all of that comes with the reinvention wheel. some what can i do to better team and make the guys around me that much better. when i say not just shooting the ballened make the shot but just from bag leader and having those qualities in the locker room on the bus around the team at ents, just them seeing me in a different light. >> rose: did anybody help you or do you just simply talk to yourself? >> i had a lot of me-time. i had a lot of me-time. >> rose: look in the mirror and say if you want to take this somewhere to another zone you have to change. >> rose: you have to look in the mirror. nobody can tell you what you should do or how you should be. if you don't look in the mirror and say it yourself nothing will change. nobody should create your
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reality for you. you should create yourwn reality. >> re: did your wife see it coming? >> i think she -- she's been with me everyday. >> rose: this was a journey you took a loan in a sense -- alone in a sense of -- some would say a "come to jesus moment." >> it was one of those moments. >> rose: you've got to look in the mirror and say "i know what i need to do but i can do more." being >> being more, doing more and willing to accept the challenges and face the challenges. >> rose: how did yourame chge, in yo words >> in my words. >> rose: yeah. >> i would say it's doing more. i mean that's all of -- i wouldn't say my game changed but i'm doing more. giving more effort, playing more defense. rebounding, passion, i'm doing a lot more.
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>> i think mike may have said you can play a variety of different positions and that makes you hard to guard. is at it? i me, do ou feel like you have an advantage because of that? >> i think so. i think way coach woodson came at the beginning of of the season said we're going to play you at the four position. >> rose: we're going to be at four. >> he watched the "u.s.a. today" and see how much success he had and playing small ball and sometimes at the five position which i don't want to play that. we saw that -- you're preoccupied with other things. >> rose: he saw the success with me being at the fort and it was kind of like it s great timing because amari was out and we could have -- just what happened and it was working. >> rose: you believe you can go all the way? >> yes, i do. >> rose: you can take miami? >> i believe that. >> rose: talk to me about being
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a shooter. what's inside your head? >> as a shooter -- >> is there a moment. >> rose: your mind seth is a lot different than everybody elses. you see things that as a shooter as a scorer that -- >> rose: like what? >> >> i'm big on creating space and i know if i get a certain amount of space then i have a chance to put a ball in the hole. that have's a scorer's mentality and also you miss two shots you don't think you'll miss a third shot. >> rose: and if there is ten seconds left give me ball. >> if there's ten seconds left i want the ball, that i want pressure, i want that moment. >> rose: because you have the confidence? >> because i have the confidence but not just the confidence i believe that if i get a shot it's going to go in. >> rose: doesn't always work. >> doesn't always work. >> you can come back the next night but you want it again and again and again. >> rose: absolutely. but everybody doesn't have that.
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either you have it or you don't. >> rose: what's the clearance you talk about. is it a step? is it a moment? you're a bully, too. >> i love physical play. i love it. >> rose: you can create your own sdplerns >> i'm good at creating space and creating my own clearance. but i grew up on that. i i grew up and playing touch football in the snow and i love -- >> rose: i love that. >> rose: who do you fear guarding you the most? >> who do i fear? teams. (laughs) >> rose: not one person? it's two and spree in >> yeah, i wouldn't say one person. it's how they -- it's the strategies set forth. >> rose: but it's not -- who, for example, kobe? >> believe it or not in this league no o n guard anyone.
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>> rose: especially you or kobe? >> if you have a chance to -- >> rose: a guy with a ball can get past one person. >> absolutely. without a doubt. without a doubt. >> so it's the system, the defense. >> it's the system, that's why i say defense wins. >> rose: you believe that? >> i believe that. >> rose: and you've gotten your act together? >> the most important thing is we bought in. >> rose: how important has coach wood been in this transformation. >> very important. >> rose: because he gave what? >> he gave me chance to -- us the chance to hold ourselves accountable on a daily basis and we had to buy in to coach woodson and we did that. like i said we started amongst ourselves three weeks, four weeks before training camp getting together, talking, trying to figure it out and then through our training camp we have the best training camps be
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part of my ten year career. we bought into whahe wanted we told him we're going allow him to coach us. >> rose: because you have been on an n.c.a.a. championship team. >> yes. >> rose: and have not been on an n.b.a. championship team. have gone to the playoffs. if you know what it is to be the best you'll do anything you can without-to-get back there? >> that goes without saying. >> rose: anything missing from this next snaepl >> no, not at all. i think we have it all. i think we have it all and like i say we just have to put them pieces of the puzzle together. >> rose: you think you had done what you needed to do to make the whole thing complete? as a complete player? >> i think so. i've showed that i'm a team player. i've showed that i can make guys around me better.
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i show that i'm committed to guys on both ends of the court. it's just a matter of winning. when you win nobody talks about that. >> rose: (lahs) u alsoo som important things, you go back to red hook. you've been back there after sandy. what's that about? >> that's something i love to do genuinely. like nobody has to tell me sandy just hit and you should go back to red hooblg. >> rose: you knew in your heart? >> i knew in my heart. i knew red hook was devastated. i knew coney island was devastated. we made a strategic plan and said this is where we're going. wee going back to red hook. oever don'wanto com don come. we're going to coney island where there's no lights. >> rose: we're going to show them somebody cares. >> absolutely. >> rose: i'm from here. >> this is me and i'm a representation of that area of red hook and they have -- nobody
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claims red hook so sometimes red hook gets overlooked in a lot of things out here in new york. sometimes coney island gets overlooked in a lot of things in new york. sometimes far rockaway gets overlooked so if can ve bck and do what i can to help those communities i'm going to do it. >>. >> rose: you have a foundation, too, what does that do? >> it helps me -- it helps me reach out to the places that a lot of people don't want to reach out to i do my court for kids where i go around and build basketball courts and dedicate basketball courts but i do it in -- >> rose: done some of that have in baltimore, too. >> i've done in the baltimore and a couple in puerto rico. we're working on a strategy in new york right now i like to go into the hood.
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i like to go where the kids need it. there's no point for me to put a basketball court in times square. there's no need for that. >> rose: put hit in the neighborhood. >> put hit in the neighborhood. deep in harlem, the bronx, in brooklyn, the places where people really need it. >> rose: and in puerto rico as you said. your father was puerto rican? >> my dad was puerto rican. >> rose: there's an affinity for port rico as well? >> absolutly. when i was young i grew away from that side of my family and as i got older i started asking more questions about my family, about my dad. is it was just something that drug me back and my heart is -- i'm in port rico every summer. during weekends i'm there hanging out it's another home for me. >> rose: like baltimore and new york. >> absolutely. >> rose: your wife is a performer as well. >> yes. >> rose: reality television? >> yes, big time. (laughs)
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>> rose: you should have said that, yes. because off production company. >> i have a production company. and we -- the i produced a tyson documentary. kind of got our feet wet with that. didn't expect that to take off at all but -- >> rose: here's what smart is about that. i know you know this. you created a company, a production company and said we'll take on serious projects. >> i don't like to take on projects that don't mean anything to me. the tyson project that we first did came to my desk and it was a matter of finishing the project and i said let me see it first and we watched it and it was something that clicked to me. and i said the difference between this documentary and any other mike tyson documentary is that he's speaking.
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he was speaking to the camera, directly to the camera nobody else was telling his story. he was telling the story event by event by event and that's what made the documentary. >> rose: he tells it with a certain passion. >> he tells it with the the truth. >> rose: authenticity. did you see him on broadway? >> i didn't. i was gone when he was on broadway. >> rose: what are your ambitions other than to win the n.b.a. championship? >> man i love -- >> rose: you're already a hall of famer, you know that. i hope so. i hope so. >> rose: you can't be up with of the great players of all time and people say it doesn't belong in the whole thing. you want a brass ring and come back and win another one and another one. >> that's the basketball goal. >> rose: that's the hard thing. the absolutely. but i love what's passionate to
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me. i love wine, i love cigars i love fashion. >> they tl me you show up in fashion shows now. >> i love fashion. >> rose: but might you design fashion? maybe a mens ware line? >> i want to. i want to. i would love to do that. i would love to do that. >> rose: be entrepreneurial? >> i love doing things out of the box. i don't like doing the ordinary things of getting into go buy this restaurant. >> rose: this is guy who becomes a scorer, you know what i mean? >> absolutely. will >> i like doing things that's unorthodox. >> rose: what happens when you get into a conflict like you did with the celtics? >> oh, you blow it away. >> rose: just blow it away? >> just blow it away. >> rose: you were waiting outside the locker room! were you defending the honor or were you just -- >> it becomes a certain time in
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anybody whether it's you, whether it's -- anybody that you want some type of clarity and you don't feel right as a man, you don't want to be able to sleep that night. >> rose: so you were looking for claire any >> that was one of them nights that i was looking for clarity that night. >> rose: would you have done anything differently when you look back? >> i probably wouldn't have went to the bus. >> rose: (laughs) >> rose: that was as they say a bridge too far? >> that was a bridge too far but i'd probably having looking for clarity. >> rose: honor, clarity. >> rose: >> respect. >> rose: there much trash talking? >> it's different. it's different now. not so much -- the n.b.a. cleaned the game up so much. when i first came to the game 18 years ago trash talk was at its all time highs. >> rose: michael was good at it, too, wasn't he? >> i missed michael.
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>> rose: you never played -- >> i never played against him. he left right before i got there. >> rose: he 50es years old. >> 50. >> rose: just celebrated his 50th birthday. >> rose: and he's relevant as if he's still playing? really? >> yes. >> but bernard king was your hero? >> that was my guy. the reason to be honest with you the reason that i kind of gritated to bnard king i i grew tune n new york and as i got older guys said you need to watch this bernard qinghai and the older guys in my neighborhood like my uncle they was new york nicks fans so they was big bernard king fans and they used to always talk about them. he deal this, he deal that, he's so smooth, he's the king. >> rose: that resonated with you? >> as i got older it was okay, let me check him out. see what he's doing. then i started seeing his game in the things that i was doing
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and it started gravitating and getting bigger and bigger. it was like man, that's bernard king? >> rose: there's a picture of you at the savoy hotel in london. >> (laughs) >> rose: (laughs) reading the "financial times." maybe with a cigar. >> i'm culturally diverse. >> rose: having tea. it shows you're a man of the world. >> i'm very culturally diverse. >> rose: great to have you here. >> thank you. >> rose: i hope we can do this agai >> absoluty. rose: if u n e championship or if you don't will you come back and review the year? >> as long as you invite me back i'll be here sitting at the round trabl. >> rose: thank you. good luck. >> thank you. have >> we'll be right back. stay with us. >> rose: taylor branch is here, he is a pulitzer prize winning author and scholar of the civil rights movement. his trilogy on the life of dr. martin luther king, jr. has helped many to better understand the history of race in america.
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in his latest book he turns again to the period he has studied and writn about for over 25 years. it's called "king years: heroic moments in the civil rights movement." i'm pleased to have taylor branch back at this table. welcome, sir. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: why the? the dedication is to students of freedom and teachers of history? >> i had a lot of history teachers complain over the years. my books are valuable because they're story telling. they're difficult because they're 800 pages. in college it's difficult to assign it. >> re: that's the full biography. >> hand the tale is valuable and i believe in it and i wouldn't want to write a summary but the longer i did this and the more digital students i saw in the digital age i said it's worth it to pick out stories, keep the original language but pick a sample that will give people a sense of the sweep of this incredible transformative era that i -- >> rose: how did you go about
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that? >> it's historic moments in the civil rights movement. i tried to pick moments when i felt the movement grow. fright the very begiing, the first chapter is when king gives his speech on the first night of the bus boycott and the movement there is groping for something to inspire an audience. >> rose: he provided that? >> you can see it with the audience. there's a movement. that's how it starts. it builds through freedom rides of birmingham, the march on washington and so i try to show a building so the better i hope to understand how we went from a time of movement that grew now to a time of spin that doesn't go anywhere. >> rose: and what's interesting about it, the movement started without him. >> that's right. >> rose: the movement started at the grass-roots and then people come because they grasp the idea or the action and some go to the front of the line to take it to
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a place it might not go without leadership. >> oh, absolutely. absolutely. it did. and he was the first one -- the only civil rights leader-- adult-- to ebb dorsch the sit ins when they started saying these kids have found something ahead of me because they're -- parts of human nature are so substorn words aren't enough. i'm a word man but they figured out of a way to take sacrifice and amplify their witness and they deserve credit. this isn't a panty raid. a lot of people thought sit ins were panty raids. but he saw that so the movement grew not always with him at the fore front. >> rose: i want to talk about relationships with dr. king as well with president kennedy, his brother, attorney general robert kennedy. but smell that's a moment, too. >> selma is the culmination of the movement marching upward into first of all even to get noticed, to get people to deal with race relations which was scary, people didn't want to
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deal with it up to birmingham freedom summer and then selma. and i chose here there were three marches, three attempts to march from selma to montgomery. i chose in this book the middle one. which is the one most forgotten. the first one is where they were beaten on bloody sunday, the complicated story. the last one is when they got there. the middle one he was under court order not to march by the federal government, governor wallace was threatening him and trying to trick him into marching, the courts -- all of the branches of government and a movement was divided, people who said don't march before are now saying march hell or high water. he had to decide what to do and it was a moment he went across the bridge and stopped and i say it shows how all the people on all sides of the movement are in perpetual internal conflict over the what the right thing to do is. should we focus on getting a voting rights bill? keeping the movement together? relations with congress? relations with governor wallace?
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>> rose: take a look at this. this is from the president, president obama, in his second inaugural address referencing selma. here it is. >> we, the people declare today the most evident of truths that all of us are created equal is the star that guides us still just as it guided our forebearers through seneca falls and selma and stonewall, just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone. to hear a king proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricablyly bound from the freedom of every soul on earth. (applause) it is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers
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began. for our journey is not complete til o wiv, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. (cheers and applause) our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. (cheers and applause) for if we are truly created equal than surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. >> rose: so there's a reference to selma and other places in which movements have found life but also the rhythm of the spch suggests he'd been listening to king, doesn't it? >> yes, it does. and it has that notion that this is at the heart of our patriotism. one thing he didn't do that king often did was king put one foot in the scripture and the other foot in the constitution and the patriotic history. that was purely patriotic. it didn't have the spiritual base which i think made king's
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message more powerful. >> rose: i agree. but king was so wonderful it was almost in rhythm with the crowd. the crowd was flowing, he was flowing. >> absolutely. >> rose: but he was the wind moving the sail. >> and it was at a time when almost as remarkably president of the united states lyndon johnson echoed that in his speech. he'm's famous for -- he said "we shall overcome" but before he did that he said there's certain times in the history of man when fate and destiny meet at a single moment. so it was at concord, so it was at appomattox, so it was last week in selma. already he's putting a black-led movement at the heart of american patriotism. >> rose: the american experience. yes. >> and saying that they're leaders for all of us and our country hasn't even come to grips with that yet. john within son was that far ahead and king was that far ahead.
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>> rose: what was that relation between dr. king and president kennedy and attorney general kennedy? >> with president kennedy it was admiration and frustration he tried to get president kennedy to end segregation on an executive order in the mepls. that's only 50 years ago today and kennedy wouldn't do it. king thought it would be easier for kennedy to do it because he couldn't get it through congress to try to pretend to be lincoln and say i'm going to abolish. it didn't work. king said -- >> rose: lincoln later amended the constitution. >> absolutely and it was a war measure and i'm sure -- but kennedy didn't want to sacrifice his southern base as soon as king gave up on kennedy he decided to go to birmingham which was the great breakthrough. he risked everything. he admired nnedy, he admired his cool, his style but he was frustrated with him and when he finally got kennedy to propose a civil rights bill and went up to
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meet with him he was profoundly disappointed because instead of -- i mean, kennedy's got the bill. he's endorsed civil rights. they're political allies but when king went in to work with him for the first time kennedy said "you have to get rid of a lot of your people, they're subversives, they're risks." >> rose: he was buying j. edgar hoover >> he was trying to keep king at m's length for political protection. >> ros and it started with a phone call. >> absolutely. kennedy wouldn't be -- wouldn't have become president had he not -- with an awkward thing he called coretta when king was in jail just to say we're thinking of you and that small gesture was enough to make kennedy president and to make king the first black man who put a president in the white house so it elevated his stature but the south was still segregated. 50 years ago this month george wallace -- last month, too office. saying segregation forever. we were totally segregatednd
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that has gone in the blank of an eye. >> rose: and the reference president kennedy made to the people surrounding dr. king, he was always loyal to them even though lots of people wanted to suggest that their political leanings were not even as his were. >> no, that's true. of course, king said to president kennedy i hear this about a lot of people. some people say your brother has communist influences. they're south yerpers and the attorney general may be a communist. with respect is the evidence? >> rose: right. >> for j. edgar hoover it was always secret and it was a terrible internal -- the movement people were in perpetual internal conflict over whether they were in a witch-hunt or making a political bargain, how much credit to give somebody. where is all this stuff coming from? >> rose: you hope people will read these stories because it's important to connect with narrative in order to understand history. >> rose:
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>> it's important to connect with history to understand race that understanding and growth comes through personal stories not by attractions. on the contrary we have shown in american history a remarkable ability to misrep history where race is involved. i was brought up believing taught the civil war had nothing to do with slavery. my textbook said the people who restored white supremacy after reconstruction were the redeemers. that's what they were called. it was a religious word, not klansmen. i think we're doing it again about the civil rights era. a lot of our politics is about the civil rights era. the capacities of government. what divides us and brings us together, resentments and that sort of thing but we don't appreciate the enormous blessings of liberty from the last 50 years that changed. women -- you know, when you and i went to north carolina there were hardly any women there. there were no female rabbis in
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2000 years of rabbinic judaism until the civil rights movement got people to struggle over what equal souls and citizens meant. now we take it for granted. what i'm saying is that race if we properly understand it through these series of 50-year anniversarys is the doorway that can help people achieve freedom and strength for lots of people. the immigration reform act for disability, for gay people just as the president said they're referencing seneca fall which is is about women's rights and stonewall. >> rose: what was it king said? his quote about bending the thing of justice? >> the arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice the arc of the moral universe is long but bends towards justice. it was a quote from theodore parker who was an abolitionist. >> rose: what was the most remarkable thing about dr. king?
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>> if you look at hit him as an orator, he never got confused about being a prophet and a politician. he was a prophet with a political ear and a good sense of timing. he spoke about religion and race everyday church and state but remarkably was never attacked r mixing church and states which a common thing and the reason is because he was so gifted about not trying to subdue one or the other. he would say equal souls or equal vote, take your pick. one day the south will know that when these disinherented chirp of god s.a.t. down at lunch counters they were standing up for the best of the american dream and the best sacred values in our heritage. he had a remarkably stable balanced appeal. >> rose: what's interesting about that is that king had that. on the one hand the proet and the vision and sense of history. on the other hand, he knew he had to deal with men mostly and
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women in order to make it happen. >> in order to make it happen. >> you can't go there on a dream. you have to go there on a dream fueled by action >> that's why i think you hear what i call a wood stove in his voice. there's passion in his voice apart from the words because he has this vision but he's no naive dreamer. he's had -- when he first got to montgomery he had to speak at a rally for somebody in montgomery who was executed for stealing $2.75. >> rose: executed? >> executed in the state of alabama. this was a rough world. people were not even noticed the divide between the races was very, very strong. it still is. just look at voting patterns. we have a lot of people today who will say simultaneously that race is solved so we don't need to worry about it and it's unsolveable so we don't need to worry about it. the common denominator is we don't need to worry about it.
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>> rose: what do you say to the question of what we need to do about race? >> i think we need to recognize that we have worked miracles in the last 50 years not only through race but that open doors to other miracless we don't appreciate and if we did appreciate it our confidence would come back to work through the new problems because we have all kinds of new problems here it gives us confidence of the strength of our democratic values. >> rose: "the king years, historic moments in civil rights movement." selections from the king years trilogy with new introduction tos by the author, thank you, great to see you. taylor branch, thank you for joining us. see you next time.
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Charlie Rose
PBS February 27, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PST

News/Business. (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)

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